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NEA Gives Extra Credit for Rep. Graves' Anti-NCLB Bill

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., set off a brief firestorm this summer when he sponsored a bill to suspend NCLB's accountability rules. The NEA, NSBA, and others lined up behind the effort to attach the bill to the fiscal 2009 appropriations bill in the House. The bill stalled once civil rights groups announced they were dead set against it.

Now, Graves is getting his reward. He is one of 22 Republicans that the NEA is endorsing in the Nov. 4 election (see the whole list at the Education Intelligence Agency), and the union gave him an 'A' on its report card for the 110th Congress.

Graves' voting record doesn't always match the NEA's agenda. The Missouri Republican voted with the union half of the time on the 20 roll call votes that it uses to evaluate House members. That's an increase over previous years. In the 208th Congress, for example, Graves voted for the NEA position as little as 30 percent of that time.

But in the current Congress, Graves voted against the NEA's position on several bread-and-butter issues (minimum wage, union rights, children's health insurance, employee protections, and school construction). He did side with the union in opposing an amendment to create a federal merit-pay plan. Of Graves' pro-NEA votes, most weren't tough choices; all but one had 270 House members supporting NEA's position.

When I last reported on the NEA's legislative scorecard, the NEA's Randy Moody told me that the union had started to look at the total work of a congressional member. Attempting to halt NCLB accountability must have counted for something.

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